DUBOIS – Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca was in Treasure Lake Thursday to share the details of a major $1.4 million project.
The project involves replacing approximately 2,050 feet of leak-prone PVC pipe and polybutylene service lines with new cement-lined ductile iron pipe and copper service lines, on Bay Road between Woolendean and Treasure Lake roads.
The new pipe will resolve issues with leaks—which were a significant problem for Aqua when it took ownership of the system in February of 2013—and provide greater flow, which will prepare the system for future firefighting capability.
Aqua’s Western Pennsylvania Area Manager Jim Willard said that pipe replacements like this have helped the system reduce its unaccounted-for water.
“When we purchased this system, which has 79 miles of water mains, only about 60 percent of the water leaving the well stations reached customers, primarily because of the significant number of leaks on the old pipe,” said Willard.
“We have since replaced 15 percent of the distribution system, which has resulted in an increase of treated water delivered to customers to nearly 80 percent. Our goal is to increase that number even more by having replaced 30 percent of the distribution system by the end of 2019.”
He added that some level of unaccounted-for water is reasonable, citing water used for flush as an example.
The company is doing work like this across the state, as well. “The project that we are looking at here is representative of hundreds that are taking place at Aqua Pennsylvania on any given day throughout the year,” Lucca said.
Lucca referred to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that $384 billion is needed to replace thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks and other infrastructure that is vital to public health and the economy through 2030.
He also referred to the “D” grade given to the nation’s water systems by the American Society of Civil Engineers in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.
“If you couple the information from the EPA and the ASCE, there leaves little question about the importance of doing the type of work you are seeing here. I am proud to tell you that Aqua is doing the work,” he said. He added that in 2016, Aqua Pennsylvania replaced 136 miles of old water main throughout the state.
The project is one among several that Aqua Pennsylvania plans to complete throughout its Western Pennsylvania Division this year at a cost of $24.4 million.
By year-end, the company will have spent nearly $81 million on improvements throughout the division over the past five years (2013 through 2017), including the replacement of more than 63 miles of old water main.
Aqua’s Western Pennsylvania Division provides water service to about 84,000 people throughout its service territory, which spans parts of Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Forest, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties. Overall, the company serves approximately 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout Pennsylvania.
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